"The Dangers of Failing Middle East States," by Kobi Michael and Yoel Guzansky is an insightful item that describes the spread of failed states, especially among Muslim-majority countries, and applies the lesson to what much of the world aspires to create for Palestinians. You can read it here.

 
A failed state is one that does not function politically, economically, or as a provider of security and social services for its population. It's a phenomenon that is widespread among the loosely defined Third World, appears to be the fate of Palestinians, and questions the value of creating yet another state that seems likely to fail.
 
Alas, there are two problems with the article that links failed states to Muslims and Palestinians. 
  • Its written by Israelis, and
  • It begins and concludes by favorably citing the contributions to its theme from Benjamin Netanyahu.
Neither trait should condemn it to be ignored, but we can bet that'll be the fate of an item predestined to be described by all too many as politically incorrect.


My endorsement will not correct those faults, but the idea is worth consideration.


The greater part of the Palestinian failure has come from within. If the idea of a Palestinian State is dead, or near dead, it's a product of suicide, or something that has come so close to suicide as suggest the label of irreversible. .


If Israel has contributed to the failure of the Palestinian aspirations, that is largely due to Israel's focus on Palestinians' aspirations that threaten Israel's people and the country's existence.


Israeli settlement is not the key. Settlement has come, for the most part, after Arab or Palestinian aggression or rejection of accommodation. Moreover, there have been pauses in settlement, meant to encourage accommodation that have not been accepted as such by the Palestinians. 


Prominent among Palestinian missteps were the 2000 rejection by Palestinians of the Barak-Clinton peace proposals, and the onset of violence that produced significant Israeli and Arab casualties. Then came the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from Gaza, met by waves of rockets that produced several military operations more costly to Palestinians than to Israelis. Less prominent have been several freezes in construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem in response to pressures from the US. None of those pauses brought flexibility from the Palestinians.


Where are the Palestinians now?


In the West Bank an ailing 82 year old hangs on to power despite a term that ended in 2009. He's on again off again recognized as President by the Gaza half of his ostensible regime, on again off again shuts off money to Gaza that limits its electricity and medical supplies. 


Uncountable billions in resources have been provided to the West Bank and Gaza, with much going to high profile and useless expenditures on means of aggression in Gaza, payments to families of terrorists in both Gaza and the West Bank, widespread corruption, the nurturing of refugee status unto the fourth, fifth, or sixth generations, and the financing of propaganda that blames it all on Israel.


Among the latest efforts have been weekly marches of Gazans toward the border of Israel. They began with perhaps 20,000 participants, then an estimated 5-10,000, and most recently 3,000. They have produced two iconic deaths of a Palestinian journalist and a 15 year old boy. Both have gone viral along with charges of Israeli murder. There's been no reliable confirmation that either was killed by an Israeli as opposed to a Palestinian. Or--if it could be established that an Israeli bullet caused the deaths--no careful pondering of the problems involved in precise action amidst the noise, smoke, and confusion of a mass march, with some of the marchers posing threats with fire arms, fire bombs, and stones. And who's to say, for sure, that an Israeli sniper did not aim for the legs of a suspected troublemaker, but that he tripped or was pushed in the melee and a vital part of his body met the bullet?


The notion of Palestinians killing the journalist or the 15-year old may be viewed as a nasty speculation, and a blatant denial of what's obvious and politically correct. But it's a credible possibility. 


One is led to it by the issue of Who Benefits? Palestinians profit and Israelis lose by these iconic deaths.


And Palestinian reports about conflict are often not credible. How many times have we heard claims by Palestinians about the innocence of individuals caught when committing acts of terror, including the assertion of "traffic accident" in cases of murder by automobile? . 


One item that received a lot of attention was the image of  Muhammad al-Durrah, being sheltered by his father and said to be killed by the IDF. Subsequent inquiries cast doubt not only with respect to the responsibility of the IDF, but whether the boy had been killed or was seen walking the streets of Gaza.


Another was the death of Rachel Corrie, an American activist for the sake of Palestine killed by an IDF bulldozer while seemingly trying to stop a battle in process. Corrie's family charged that her killing was intentional, while the driver of the bulldozer explained that his vision was limited, and his mission was something other than looking out for civilians in the midst of a fight.


In this spirit, we can speculate that the next iconic victim of the IDF will be a young female, and that MK Haneen Zoabi and Linda Sarsour are already polishing their comments.


Perhaps somewhat less inflammatory is the assertion that any innocent who approaches a mass demonstration likely to be violent is risking injury and death. The area is dangerous, with Palestinian stones and fire bombs, and IDF bullets flying here and there and not always reaching intended targets. 


A bit of success for the Palestinians, a bit of embarrassment for Israelis, or just another example of Israeli problems with leftist American Jews came from Natalie Portman's several explanations of not visiting Israel to accept a high profile prize. Initially she said that recent events would make her uncomfortable in making a public appearance in Israel. Later she sharpened her explanation by saying she did not want to share a platform with Prime Minister Netanyahu. She also spoke about atrocities that were not in line with her Jewish values.


Responses from Israeli government ministers were that Portman had been misled by Hamas propaganda, and that her comments bordered on anti-Semitism. Others accused her of lending support to BDS, despite her claim that staying away from Israel was not like other artists who did the same in the spirit of boycott.


Where are Israelis?


Arguably stronger both militarily and economically than at any time in the past, and more secure than any sizable Jewish community in history. 


Jews know that there are no guarantees about the near or distant future.


Now the IDF and other security services are arrayed at more than normal alert both in the south and north. Electronic and human intelligence assets are helping prepare from what may come from Gaza, the West Bank, Hezbollah, and/or Iran. Those same Israeli organizations are also working with Egyptian, Saudi, Gulf Emirate, and Jordanian personnel, despite the occasional anti-Israel rhetoric that comes from those countries.


It ain't a simple picture, but it seems wiser to bet on Israel than on the Palestinians overcoming their failures to produce something decent for themselves.


Comments welcome


-- 
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 
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